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January 22, 2015
Six Weeks’ Paid Leave Opposed By People With Thirty-Three Weeks’ Paid Leave
By Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Obama’s proposal to give workers six weeks of paid leave is meeting strong opposition from a group of people who annually receive thirty-three weeks of paid leave.
Members of the group heard the President’s proposal on Tuesday night, one of the few nights of the year when they are required to report to their workplace.
The opponents of paid leave, who show up for work a hundred and thirty-seven days per year and receive paid leave for the other two hundred and twenty-eight, were baffled by other moments in the President’s speech.
For example, they were confused by Obama’s challenge to try to survive on a full-time job that pays fifteen thousand dollars, since they all currently hold a part-time job that pays a hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars.
Posted by FourScore | Fri Jan 23, 2015, 09:52 AM (2 replies)
For those who missed it -- The White House had a luncheon today for the media covering tonight's State of Union address.
There were place cards at each table setting. The place cards read: NY Times News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN News, etc.
But the place card for Fox read "FOX".
I understand that the FOX folks are terribly insulted.
h/t Mayfly at Dailykos
Posted by FourScore | Tue Jan 20, 2015, 09:27 PM (17 replies)
Florida teen saves life of Fort Lauderdale police officer as he is being arrested
13 Jan 2015 at 15:12 ET
Teenager Jamal Rutledge poses with Sgt. Todd Bunin and Officers Franklin Foulks, Robert Norvis and Raymond Ketchmark (Fort Lauderdale Police Department)
A Florida teenager was honored on Tuesday for helping to save the life of a Fort Lauderdale police officer who was processing his arrest for a parole violation.
Video released by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department shows Officer Franklin Foulks processing Jamal Rutledge after he was arrested for criminal mischief and burglary probation violations, according to WTVJ.
When Foulks suddenly collapsed, Rutledge “immediately began to kick the security fence and yell to alert officers in the area,” a statement from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said.
Sgt. Todd Bunin responded by contacting police dispatch. Officers Robert Norvis and Raymond Ketchmark quickly arrived to assist Bunin. The officers administered CPR and used an Automated External Defibrillator device to attempt to restore Foulks’ heart rhythm...
Posted by FourScore | Wed Jan 14, 2015, 06:34 PM (1 replies)
Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
Wednesday 20 November 2013 11.07 EST
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms...
..."There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."
Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change...
...Meanwhile, Oreskes, who has written extensively about corporate-funded climate denial, noted that several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement.
"For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action," she said...
Posted by FourScore | Sat Jan 10, 2015, 10:53 PM (3 replies)
Thu Jan 01, 2015 at 01:26 PM PST
Obama To Disband the Marine Corps
You didn't know this, did you?
On a flight home I sat in between two individuals, a Marine and boxing promoter. The boxing guy was an older gentleman, and told interesting stories, such as meeting Don King. Both men were very pleasant and that helped make time pass on the flight. We were all combat veterans and all Southerners, so we had a lot in common. Then the discussion, inevitably, turned to politics.
The older guy turned to the Marine and said "You know Obama is getting rid of the Marine Corps, right?"
The Marine was puzzled. He hadn't heard this news. Neither had I. "Yeah, Eric Holder just had a meeting with the Joint Chiefs. Obama is going to disband them by Executive Order."
Hooooo boy. We are going to do this now, are we? Putting aside for the moment why the head of the DOJ would be involved with restructuring a military department in the DoD, I said: "I don't think any president can just disband a branch of service. Also, this would be pretty big news. Don't you think it would be all over the news instead of a message board?" I assumed it was a message board because I follow GOP conspiracy theories on rightwing sites, and never heard of this one. Even the Marine, who was no Obama fan, agreed this sounded very stupid and we moved on to other topics.
We all parted ways and thanked each other for the talk. I told the Marine I'd see him on my flight back since there soon wouldn't be a base for him to go to.
Sure enough, I got back home and did some checking on the interwebs. Although I couldn't find anything about Obama disbanding the Corps, I did find a story that Obama was going to disband the National Guard and Reserves by fall of this year, a post that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, going to dismantle the Marine Corps, and various other hysteria/delusions in the mind of a brainwashed conservative.
I thought about the flight and wondered, how can such a seemingly intelligent, normal man suddenly suspend logic and spout such nonsense?
How can, on one hand, we discuss rationally our jobs, our cars, our families, and then BOOM, a switch goes off and FEMA camps, immigrant take-over, birth certificate time-travel, Sandy Hook being a hoax, and the ever present secret army of "jack-booted thugs" (you know, the bad kind who take your guns away, not the good kind who shoot unarmed brown people).
Paranoia, fear, contempt... it's disturbing. I think to myself, do you ever listen to how stupid this all sounds? We are coming to the end of Obama's two terms. Gun rights haven't been curtailed in the least. If anything, they've expanded and it's easier to get a gun than ever before. Also, no one was taken into camps and locked up (unless you count the record number of undocumented immigrants Obama allowed that to happen to before deportation).
Even the conspiracy theories have gotten lamer. It went from all of us being destroyed to Michelle Obama wants to take dessert away. No. Seriously.
Fox News just reported that Obama is going to ban doughnuts!
And not just doughnuts. Watch the report. Obama's jack-booted FDA is coming after (and they list these) popcorn, Christmas cookies (ohhh he hates Christmas!), crackers, frozen pizza, and canned frosting. Fox News host Clayton Morris actually said they would be prohibited!
Hoooo boy. I shouldn't have to explain this, but what they are referring to is the FDA ban on trans-fat, which was enacted well over a year ago. Trans-fat isn't needed to make anything, and has already been eliminated by doughnut companies for years! (This includes the stupid doughnuts Morris was displaying.) In other words, trans-fat is a dangerous, non-essential ingredient that has already been replaced. No one gave flying f***.
Yet Fox is lying to its viewers, again, and telling them that this year your favorite desserts will be BANNED! As Cenk said in the video, it is pretty much guaranteed that one of your brainwashed relatives will state, matter-of-factly, that Obama is banning doughnuts. It was on the "news".
Yet in a few months, when we see that our doughnuts are still on the shelves and no one is trying to take them, the Fox viewer will not once ever stop and say to himself--"Hey, they lied to me!". That is because he will already be outraged at the next lie. The cycle will continue, and I'll keep trying to get through.
To all of my conservative friends, past, present, and those I'll meet on flights in the future: Can one of your New Year's resolutions be that when you hear something SO INCREDIBLE about your president or, in fact, any politician, that you will put a minimum amount of effort to verifying it is true before you spout it as fact? Just ONE google search will usually do it.
That's all I ask. You'll seem more normal, less gullible, and you'll find that people will enjoy your company without suddenly questioning your intelligence.
Happy New Year my friends, and Benghazi.
Posted by FourScore | Thu Jan 1, 2015, 11:33 PM (38 replies)
This guy summed up the entire Bible in one Facebook post, and it was perfect
posted by DeadState November 22, 2014 Featured, Religion
Posted by FourScore | Mon Dec 29, 2014, 07:25 PM (8 replies)
Thu Dec 25, 2014 at 06:00 PM PST
Is this what Babylonians listened to?
by Joan McCarterFollow for Daily Kos
VIDEO: (Can't embed, sorry.) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/25/1353452/-Is-this-what-Babylonians-listened-to#comments
That's the result of a project by singer and composer Stef Conner on her album, The Flood. Translating the ancient cuneiform poems and writings of Babylon fascinated her, but she wanted more, to know what it sounded like.
So she teamed up with Andy Lowings, who reconstructs ancient instruments and plays a mean lyre, a musical instrument with strings that resembles a harp. The two set out to create music that brings ancient Babylonian poetry to life, and The Flood is the result.
But how does one reincarnate music that no human voice has uttered for millennia? Conner says a key step was to really understand the language. She carefully studied historical analysis of the stresses and intonations of Babylonian and Sumerian for hints as to how it may have sounded, and researched how language is converted into music in similar Semitic languages. Then, after choosing and memorizing a piece of writing or poem, Conner collaborated with Lowings to create the melody.
This may or may not be what the Babylonians sang or heard, but it's still beautiful and still a fascinating project.
Posted by FourScore | Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:29 PM (3 replies)
I grew up in Georgia. My early years were spent in a small college town located next door to Plains, GA - what later became known as Jimmy Carter country. It was the early 60's and my family had always been politically active democrats. My father and Jimmy Carter were good friends, he even wrote about my father in one of his books. I don't want to go into any real detail about how they became friends or all they accomplished together, but I will say that they seemed like heroes to me. They were fighting for civil rights during my childhood, and as an education and trial lawyer, my father found himself at the heart of the civil rights movement. The myriad ways segregation impacted my life still resonates with me today, and even trickles down to my children. For example, one fine Sunday morning around 1965, Congressman Elijah Cummings and 3 other African Americans tried to enter our all-white Methodist Church in my hometown. They were blocked from entering, so they knelt on the ground in front of the marble steps and soaring columns and prayed. There is a famous photo of that day. Large white men are standing between the columns looking like thugs, with 4 African Americans, dressed in their Sunday best, at the bottom of the steps, kneeling in prayer. My father was given a copy of that photograph. It's a powerful image. That was my last day of church. I vividly remember my father protesting what was happening with the words, "God welcomes all of His children in His home." A few days later, the church elders sent a lackey to our house requesting that we not return. I never a joined a church again.
My father came from a large family with 8 kids. One of my uncles became the Secretary of the State of GA and served honorably for over 30 years. The democratic party wanted my uncle to run for Governor. Because he was so popular, there was no question that he would win. But he refused, saying that if he were to run for Governor he would have to become a politician, and he never wanted to be that. He wanted to serve the state he loved so dearly as a "statesman". He was a colorful character and truly loved by so many, but one reason he was so loved was because he did what was best for Georgia. He followed the law, not his party, and not the political whims of the powerful. There is a famous story about the 3 Governors Controversy of GA. It is a wild tale and involved my uncle:
The Three Governors Controversy took place from 1946 to 1947. Eugene Talmadge was elected to be the next governor of Georgia, but he fell ill and died before he was inaugurated. Because of this, the General Assembly decided to elect Herman Talmadge, the son of Eugene Talmadge, to be the new governor of Georgia. However, two other people wanted the position. Ellis Arnall, the governor who was about to leave office, decided to stay governor and refused to leave...The other man was Melvin Thompson, the just elected lieutenant governor. Ben Fortson, who was secretary of state at this time, was in charge of the state seal. Neither man could do official government actions without this seal so Fortson hid the seal and refused to tell anyone where it was until the government issue was resolved. This caused the council to take action. After the dispute ended, he revealed the location of the hidden seal. Fortson had put the seal under a cushion in his wheelchair and had been sitting on it during the dispute. Fortson later quoted that he was "sitting on it like a setting of duck eggs." The controversy ended with Melvin Thompson being named the new Governor by the Georgia Supreme Court.
My uncle died in office, and I remember the headlines of the Atlanta Journal: "Georgia's Last Statesman Has Died". He was given a state memorial, and his coffin was on display in the capitol rotunda. There are buildings and highways named after him today, and people still remember his stories. I have always been very proud of him.
All of my uncles and my father served in the military. I remember so well my Uncle Charles talking about World War II. He was stationed on a small island in the Pacific. As he puts it, it was the dullest post of the entire war. He never saw any real action. I don't recall the exact story of how the Americans gained control of the island, but I do know that there were some Japanese soldiers who had been left behind, or perhaps had deserted. They lived in the jungle and were afraid of becoming prisoners of war. They were no threat to the Americans. My uncle told me that he and the other American soldiers sometimes saw them and were aware these Japanese men were emaciated and starving. So, the Americans stationed on that island placed blankets and food and other sundry items where these men could get them. In this way, they helped them survive in the wild until the war was over. Before they left, they went into the jungle and tried to let them know the war had ended and they could come out.
In the mid-1980's, I moved to Berlin. I lived with a large and wonderful family during my first few months in Germany. The father of that family had also fought in WWII. He had been captured by the Russians and lived for 5 years in a Russian POW camp. His family told me that he refused to talk about that time of his life. I have no idea what hardships he endured. I lived in Berlin for 12 years, and during that time, I heard a multitude of war stories. I learned an awful lot about the Germans, and understood their remorse and shame around the Holocaust. As an American, however, the Germans wanted me to know one thing - as the Russians and the Americans were marching toward Berlin - one from the east and the other from the west - the Berliners hoped the Americans would get there first. The Russians were brutal in war, and the Americans were known for being fair. We did not torture our prisoners, and we did not commit crimes against humanity. We were the good guys. As it happened, the Russians and the Americans finally met at the River Elbe, where it was decided that the Russians would take Berlin.
These are the stories and the heroes that have shaped my identity as an American and a Democrat. As a nation, we have had segregation, but the good guys fought it. We have had elections that were unsettled, but the Secretary of State and the Supreme Court did the right thing. We have been the good guys in war, and held the beacon of light for freedom.
Today, I weep for Trayvon and Michael, Eric, John and Tamir. I watch as my Supreme Court decides almost all cases along party lines, including, at one point, the Presidency. I hear about my country waterboarding and rectally feeding and threatening to rape mothers of prisoners...Oh my heart breaks. What have we become?
My teenage daughter recently lied to me and a teacher about a paper she was supposed to write. She wasn't done with it so she came up with a tall tale about how Google docs ate her paper. The teacher granted her another day. That evening, as I tried to help my daughter retrieve the phantom paper from Google docs, she tearfully confessed her sins. I told her she had a choice. She could quickly write a paper and turn it in, and, with her talent in writing, she would probably get a hundred. But how would she feel about that hundred? I told her there was only one path to salvation: she had to go in the next morning and confess to her teacher. I told her it would be hard, and the teacher might give her a zero; but, one thing I was certain: she would own that zero with honor. And, I told her, it would probably be the most important grade of her entire school years ever. My daughter knew what she had to do. She was very frightened and asked me to walk into the building with her that morning for support. I am so proud of her for ultimately doing the right thing. The teacher was very gracious and was so moved by my daughter's honesty that she gave her another chance.
We, as a nation...we have a choice.
Posted by FourScore | Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:22 PM (16 replies)
Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:34 PM PST
CIA: None Dare Call It Rape
I thought I could not be shocked by the CIA torture report until I listened to NPR's Audie Cornish interview with the former Deputy CIA director John McLaughlin:
CORNISH: What about the issue, then, of the brutality itself? Another charge here is that the program was just much more brutal than the CIA represented to law makers or to the public, and gets fairly graphic in terms of things like abuse of detainees rectally and things like that. I mean, what's your response to the idea of the brutality being far worse than represented?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, people need to read the CIA rebuttal on this.
We live in a never-never world of Newspeak, where waterboarding of American prisoners by the Japanese soldiers in WWII was prosecutable torture but only "enhanced interrogation" when performed by the CIA.
Now it appears that CIA interrogators were raping suspects as well. "According to the Senate report: "At least five CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity."
This is emphatically clear--there was no sane medical reason to rectally insert anything into these prisoners. Do not let McLaughlin and others lie their way out of this. In a premeditated manner the interrogators planned the rape and humiliation of these prisoners. Their only justification was to break the victim emotionally, the same goal that all rapists have.
When feeding or rehydrating someone who cannot or will not be fed or rehydrated, every beginning medical student knows that you use a nasogastric tube to deliver fluids. The tube goes in the other end, down the mouth so that liquids are naturally processed by the digestive tract. It is common to see prisoners on hunger-strike being force fed with a naso-gastric tube, so the technology was not completely unknown to the interrogators. And they didn't just accidentally get it wrong.
Except in very unusual circumstances, sticking this tube up someone's rectum is medically contraindicated since you don't get efficient large bowel absorption of water and nutrients and you end up giving the patient an enema. As any first year med student knows, you would have to be a moron to do this. Or a sick rapist bastard. And this was part of their interrogation tactics.
Place yourself in the detainee's position for a moment. They strip you, beat you, threaten and humiliate you. And then they start forcing something up your ass. Regardless of the value of your information that could stop a crime, can you imagine this occurring in any police station in the United States? Fortunately, when the perpetrators are caught and convicted, they go to jail for a very long time.
Is it justifiable to rape someone to get actionable intelligence to stop terrorism? This takes the debate to another, more twisted plane than simply beating, threatening, waterboarding and sometimes killing detainees. Somehow, abusing and torturing a terrorist suspect seems less evil, more morally equivalent. But to rape with premeditation the prisoners? What demented soul thought that this was a good patriotic American thing to do?
How do these interrogators live with themselves? These CIA interrogators were Americans and were paid by taxpayers like you and me a living wage to rape individuals in the course of their work. Legally. Some of these folks may be your neighbors or coaches on your kids' Little League teams. I wonder what kind of hell they live in if they have any kind of self-reflection. I only wish Cornish had used the word "rape" in her interview instead of her clinically-detached description, just as I wished reporters would have had the guts to use the word "torture" instead of "enhanced interrogation" eight years ago in their reporting.
The irony of this is too great--with the ongoing debate over college rape and Aaron Sorkin and the rest. Apparently, it can be, under some circumstances, reasonable for US officials to rape prisoners under United States policy. Sirs, do you have no shame?
Posted by FourScore | Wed Dec 10, 2014, 01:05 PM (0 replies)
Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 04:52 AM PST
BREAKING: Koch Brothers "Project Snow" SECRET Tax Scam, Dodges Taxes, Hides Money In Luxembourg
Overnight, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke open a new scandal involving the Koch Brothers intricate plan, dubbed "Project Snow", to dodge taxes.
I've previously written about the ICIJ's ground-breaking work revealing how hundreds of international companies cut secret deals with Luxembourg's tax authorities to avoid paying taxes.
The Koch Brothers revelations, however, are new, and involves other big companies like Disney and Skype. It's a scam enabled by the four largest accounting firms: Price WaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG. Here are the details:
Koch’s Luxembourg transactions revealed by the new documents involved its chemicals and polymers subsidiary Invista BV, which makes Lycra-brand fiber and Stainmaster-brand carpets.
The Koch documents, also prepared by Ernst & Young, describe “Project Snow,” a 26-step restructuring of Invista designed, they say, to simplify the company’s structure, centralize its cash flow into Luxembourg, and pay down debt.
The restructuring was worked out in a series of four meetings in late 2008 and early 2009 between Ernst & Young employees and Marius Kohl, head of the Bureau d’imposition Sociétés VI, part of Luxembourg’s revenue authority, according to the tax ruling. Kohl, now retired, approved thousands of tax deals over 22 years that helped save companies billions of dollars.
The documents show that in the restructuring, which took place starting in September 2008, the subsidiaries of Invista passed hundreds of millions of dollars back and forth, converting shares to debt and occasionally dissolving firms. Tax-free “hidden distributions” among subsidiaries are just one type of head-spinning transaction included in the confidential tax ruling approved by Luxembourg authorities. Another section describes a $736 million loan that gets passed from company to company until a U.S.-based subsidiary becomes “both the debtor and creditor of the same debt,” and the debt is canceled.
Each step in the tax ruling includes a separate interpretation of how it will impact the company’s taxes in Luxembourg. In most instances, the transactions are exempt.
Central to Koch’s restructuring deal is an internal company bank, Arteva Europe S.à.r.l., which manages the cash flows of the company’s European operations through Luxembourg. Arteva had established a Swiss branch that likely benefited from low tax rates in Switzerland. Luxembourg officials agreed to treat the Swiss branch as separate from the Luxembourg company, according to the tax deal.
From 2010 through 2013 the company paid $6.4 million in taxes on $269 million in profits. Its highest annual tax rate was 4.15 percent.
Arteva reported no staff costs in its annual financial reports filed in Luxembourg. In Switzerland, Arteva’s branch shares an address in Zurich with a firm called Tax Partners AG, whose principals are also listed in public filings as the deputy branch managers of Arteva, according to reporting by ICIJ partner, The Guardian. The branch manager of Arteva Switzerland describes himself on the web site LinkedIn as “tax director, Europe” for Koch International Shared Services. (emphasis added)
By the way, one of these companies was part of a U.S. election fraud:
Koch Industries admitted in 2011 that one of the key companies in its Luxembourg holdings, Invista S.à.r.l., had funneled a dozen illegal campaign contributions to state political candidates in Virginia, Delaware and Kansas and to the U.S. Democratic Governors Association. The company agreed to pay a fine of $4,700.
In its submission to the Federal Election Commission the company said that “the violations resulted from a general lack of knowledge among company personnel of either the nature of Invista's legal structure or of the restrictions that applied to it as a foreign company.”
Just to recall, what the Koch Brothers is doing is part of the general robbery of the U.S. Treasury undertaken by many companies who keep money stashed abroad--that amount is now almost $2 trillion--through a variety of scams, particularly through so-called "tax inversions" (which I've written a number of pieces about including here, here and here)
So, now, let every potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016 (oh, and, alleged "Democratic" governor of New York State, who received more money from the Koch Brothers than Scott Walker) answer the simple question every voter might want to know: when you pocket the Koch Brothers money, can we assume that you support the fleecing of American taxpayers, who, unlike the Koch Brothers, have to pay their taxes in a transparent way?
Posted by FourScore | Wed Dec 10, 2014, 01:00 PM (6 replies)